Tomorrow is Anzac Day and over the past year I’ve learnt so much more about World War One and what happened as well as the stories of some of the individuals who served, so days like this have become meaningful to me in new ways. I’ve begun to realise that history is more than facts, it’s about people, and that has been changing the way in which I think about history. So this isn’t like my normal ‘Monthly Musings’ posts, it’s not so much facts based but more me attempting to communicate my thoughts about what tomorrow means to me.
For me one thing which has stuck with me across this year is the huge cost of the war and its personal nature. Hearing of the 54, 000 names on the Menin Gate (a memorial for allied soldiers killed around the Ypres Salient who have no known grave) and seeing Tyne Cot cemetery with more than 10, 000 graves spread out as far as the eye could see, have made me realise the huge the cost of the war was in terms of the lives lost. It is believed that by the end of World War I everyone knew at least one person who had died. The more I’ve heard stories, the more I realised that this war was about real people and this continual learning just continued to reinforce to me the horrific consequences of war.
Anzac Day is a chance to stop and think about the war and be reminded by someone else what happened. It is a reminder once again of the vastness of war, continuing to the present day, and covers a much wider area than the little part I focus on. I think it is always worth remembering that the cost of war is ongoing. Many men and women serve their countries both at home and abroad, which is not something I hear about every day, so Anzac Day reminds me that I owe a debt to the present, as well as the past, for the safety in which I live.
So tomorrow will be a day for me that is marked by sadness and thankfulness because I know what has happened. If you’re not really sure what Anzac Day is all about, it’s worth looking around to find out some more. Or if you know what it’s about, perhaps try going a little deeper into one of the events which you know about.